What Information Does My Car Accident Lawyer Need From Me?Free Case Review Free Case Review ⟶
There is an average of 6 million car accidents annually in the U.S. These accidents cause approximately 3 million injuries and 40,000 deaths. Injured accident victims and the families of those killed in auto accidents often don’t know how to handle insurance claims successfully.
Experienced car accident attorneys like Big Auto understand how these claims work. Auto accident lawyers can provide helpful advice along with handling all aspects of car crash insurance claims and civil lawsuits
What Information Does Your Car Accident Lawyer Need From You?
You may be unsure how to approach an attorney and what information they’ll need to assess your case. You can contact a car accident lawyer immediately after your wreck, and you may not have all the information yet. However, you’ll provide several types of information as your case progresses. You’ll need to get some of this information from others, but you can collect most of it yourself.
To begin, you’ll need to provide your attorney with basic information about your accident, including:
- Date and time
- How many vehicles were involved
- What kinds of vehicles were involved (personal, commercial, government)
Evidence You Collected at the Accident Scene
Unlike investigators who will examine evidence later, you were present at the scene of your accident immediately after it happened. This gives you a unique opportunity to collect evidence if your injuries allow.
Your phone is an invaluable tool at a crash site. Not only should you use it to call 911 and report the accident, but you should also use it to record videos and take pictures of details like:
- Injuries, yours and those suffered by others
- Vehicle damages and placement
- Skid marks
- Roadway obstacles or conditions like potholes that contributed to causing the accident
- Weather and visibility
- Witness statements
- Accident details from your perspective
- The accident scene as a whole, from different angles
Other people will take similar photos, but yours may include details that others don’t capture. Rain can wash away evidence, and wind may blow it into a different position. Record every detail you can.
Your auto accident attorney can use the evidence you collect to help determine fault in the crash. Fault is crucial because it may determine how much compensation you can receive for your damages.
Medical Reports and Bills
Dispatchers who take the 911 call reporting your accident likely dispatched medical personnel. It’s vital to accept this medical attention at the scene. If it’s not offered, you should visit a doctor or hospital immediately.
A medical assessment made right after your accident sets a baseline for your injuries. The resulting report can prove to be valuable evidence if insurance companies say that the accident didn’t cause your injuries in an attempt to refuse fair compensation.
Your medical records include your diagnosis. Your attorney uses that and other information in your medical reports to assess how long your recovery is likely to take and what expenses would be involved with future treatments. This helps your lawyer predict how much compensation you should expect.
Keep all medical bills related to your accident, including those for:
- Hospital stays
- Transportation to and from medical appointments
- Psychiatric or psychological treatment for trauma induced by the accident
Employment and Payroll Information
If you sustain injuries in a car accident, you’ll probably miss time from work during your recovery. Lost wages is one of the things you can recover compensation for, and your attorney needs documentation of how much you make and how much income you’ll lose during your time away from work.
Police Accident Report
You’re entitled to a copy of the accident report police officers make. This report typically includes:
- Names and contact information of everyone involved in the accident
- Description and diagram of the accident scene
- Vehicle damage and placement
- Broad and general estimate of vehicle repair costs
- Directions vehicles were traveling
- Driver and witness statements
- Insurance policy information for all drivers
- Other details the officer deems pertinent
If you don’t have a copy of this report, your lawyer can get it for you.
Citations Issued Relating to the Accident
If you received a ticket for your actions in your collision, let your attorney know. If your actions contributed to causing the accident, it can affect your compensation.
Statements You Made to Insurance Company Representatives
After a car accident, representatives from your insurance company and others whose policyholders were involved in the crash may contact you. They will likely ask for your statement about what happened leading up to the crash, your injuries, your car’s damage, and other details.
Although they may appear to be sympathetic and helpful, insurance company representatives work for companies that don’t want to pay you for your damages. They can phrase questions in specific ways to trick you into giving answers that can hurt your claim.
One of the benefits of hiring a car accident lawyer to represent you is that your attorney can speak to these representatives on your behalf. Your lawyer won’t jeopardize your case because attorneys are familiar with the underhanded tactics that insurance companies often use.
If you’ve made a statement to any insurance company, you have the right to a copy of that statement. Inform your attorney and furnish a copy of your statement. If you don’t have one, your lawyer can request it on your behalf.
Your Car Insurance Policy
Your lawyer needs to see your auto insurance policy documents. These show your limits and the types of coverage you have. Some states require drivers to obtain personal injury protection policies to cover certain expenses if an accident occurs, regardless of who caused it.
Proof of Premium Payments
You can use receipts, canceled checks, or bank records to show that you’ve paid your car insurance policy premiums. You can also print a copy of emails or online statements from your insurance company. Your payment record proves that your policy was in force when your accident occurred.
Any Admission of Fault You Made
You’ll probably be rattled in the aftermath of a car accident and may not remember that you shouldn’t admit to any degree of fault. Even an apology is sometimes considered an admission of guilt. If you said anything that could be construed as an admission of fault, tell your attorney what you said and to whom.
How Does Fault Affect Your Car Accident Claim?
States have differing laws that determine your eligibility to receive compensation for your damages in a car accident. Some states don’t allow you to obtain compensation if you’re 50% or more to blame. Ask your attorney which laws apply in your state.
Multiple drivers can share fault for any car accident. Each driver is assigned a percentage of fault, and that percentage directly affects the compensation you can receive.
Suppose that your assigned degree of fault is 20% in an accident with $100,000 in total damages. Your 20% of fault is deducted from that $100,000, leaving $80,000 as the most you may receive.
How Can an Attorney Help You?
Car accident lawyers routinely handle all aspects of an accident claim, including:
- Giving you legal options and advice
- Preparing and filing paperwork for you
- Investigating the cause of the accident
- Gathering evidence to show that your degree of fault is minimal
- Speaking to insurance companies on your behalf
- Negotiating a favorable settlement with responsible insurance companies
- Taking your case to court if necessary
You’ll need to complete these tasks successfully on your own if you don’t hire an attorney to represent you. You probably don’t have the resources or time to do so, especially if you suffered severe injuries. You need to focus on your recovery, not dealing with legal issues.
Contact Big Auto today to see what we can help you with.
What Damages Can You Receive?
States can regulate damages and some states place caps on certain categories. Ask your car accident lawyer what you’re eligible for. Typically, there are three categories of damages available.
Your car crash likely produced several kinds of expenses, and these damages compensate you for things like:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Certain daily expenses
- Costs associated with hiring a caregiver
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Other property damage
Car accidents can cause long-lasting injuries that adversely affect your life. Non-economic damages attempt to compensate you financially for things like:
- Physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Losing your ability to enjoy life fully
- Damage to personal relationships
- Anxiety, depression, and PTSD
If someone deliberately caused your accident or exhibited malicious or reckless behavior, some states award victims with punitive damages. These aren’t to compensate the victim but are intended as further punishment for the offender. Not all states allow punitive damages, and not all cases qualify. Your attorney can tell you if you’re eligible.
How Can Big Auto Help You?
The attorneys at Big Auto focus on car accident cases, so we know how to navigate the sometimes-challenging circumstances involved. Contact us today for a case review and let us tell you how we can assist you.